Saying the “American people deserve better” than the Democratic leadership in Congress, Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday confirmed the doors to the White House remain open to anyone who is willing to address the humanitarian and security crisis on the southern border.
After President Trump addressed the American people Tuesday night, the two sides met in the White House.
The meeting was short, Pence explained. He said the Democrats, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, were given the floor, and they rejected the president’s plan out of hand.
The president then asked if they would support border security, including funding for a barrier, if he gave them what they wanted immediately, and Pelosi said no.
On Twitter, Trump said the meeting was ” a total waste of time.”
Pence told reporters, “Once again we heard that Democrat leaders are unwilling to even negotiate to resolve this partial government shutdown or address the crisis at the southern border.”
He said the Democrats demanded that the government reopen before they would discuss the border.
Then came Pelosi’s statement that she would refuse to negotiate even after the government is reopened.
“When she said no, the president said good-bye,” Pence explained. “We are disappointed that Democrats are unwilling to engage in good faith negotiations.”
Trump tweeted: “Just left a meeting with Chuck and Nancy, a total waste of time. I asked what is going to happen in 30 days if I quickly open things up, are you going to approve Border Security which includes a Wall or Steel Barrier? Nancy said, NO. I said bye-bye, nothing else works!”
CNBC said in a headline Trump “stormed” out of the meeting, a claim rejected by Pence, who was there.
Schumer, who stood by Pelosi in her refusal to negotiate, claimed Trump’s conduct was “unbecoming a president.”
Trump is asking for $5.7 billion in border-security funding, a figure specified by the professionals who handle that responsibility.
The president has pointed out that Democrats have voted in the past for wall funding.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., the House minority leader, told reporters Trump asked Pelosi and Schumer what they wanted, and they diverted the conversation, insisting there isn’t even a crisis.
He explained the White House has offered multiple options to Democrats, who have mostly refused even to respond.
“Their behavior is embarrassing to me,” he said.
And he said Democrats were talking about the meeting “in a manner that did not take place.”
They need to “get back in the room” and solve the problem. “We’re here and we want to work,” he said.
Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., said the president has been “more than willing to negotiate.”
“The Democrats have no interest in trying to solve this problem,” he said.
Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., the minority whip, said, “No is not a valid answer if you’re serious about solving this problem.”
Pence said perhaps the resolution ultimately is up to the American people.
“Call your congressman, call your senator,” he said, “if you think Democrats should be negotiating in good faith to address the security and humanitarian crisis at the southern border.”
A large part of the problem is that many Democrats in power in Washington have been unable to accept the fact that their candidate, Hillary Clinton, lost to President Trump in 2016.
Their actions ever since have been to “resist” everything that the president does. That’s apparently why they are refusing support for border security at this point, even though virtually all of them have voted for exactly the same thing in the past.
Trump pointed that out Tuesday night, mentioning that Democrats only started opposing that when he was elected and started supporting it.